Sunday 19th May 2019
By Patrice Mongelard
Farnborough Vets treat big home crowd to eight-goal thriller
This now traditional end of season fixture is rarely without incident and today was no exception. Being the only match at Farrow Fields we had the big pitch to ourselves on an overcast but dry and still day. Farnborough legend Nick Waller took team photos (twice in our case after immature schoolboy prank from Peter Harvey). Although a family affair with several of the opposition having played for us this season this was a serious fixture with important bragging rights at stake.
Steve Blanchard, Michael Hills, Patrice Mongelard;
Sinisa Gracanin, Jay Hardy, Chisa Mkala, Danny Mullins, Simon Thomas;
Peter Harvey, Kypros Michael.
Substitutes: Phil Anthony, Mark Friend, Hamed Lafia.
Referee: Paul “Play On” Parsons.
Supporters: Steve Blanchard Jr, Morgan Brown, Andy Cobham, Roger French, Tony Harvey, Simon & Caroline Harvey, George Kleanthous, Toby, Helen & Oliver Manchip, Ian Shoebridge, Gordon Thompson, Nick Waller, Gary Willison.
Director of Football: Mick O’Flynn.
Chief Football Correspondent: Patrice Mongelard.
We did not have the best start despite carving out the earliest scoring opportunity of note when Jay Hardy rounded players and entered the box with space and time for a shot that was well saved by a more mature looking Gary Rosslee. We fell behind after ten minutes or so. A blocked shot took Matt Angelo by surprise as it looped up in the air. He was able to adjust his feet to tip the ball onto the bar but could not get up in time to prevent Alan Fines from giving the younger Vets the lead with an acrobatic overhead kick.
The sides looked evenly matched until the half-hour when a speculative shot from distance from Matt Wright evaded the other Matt and we were 2-0 down. It felt harsh. The introduction of Hamed Lafia for Chisa Mkala soon after paid dividends. Sinisa Gracanin played a peach of a pass behind the Vets defence for Hamed Lafia who collected the ball, looked up and delivered an exquisite cross for Kypros Michael to crown the move with a looping header that sailed in over an embalmed Gary Rosslee on the line. I will no longer agree with anyone who says that Man Utd fan Kypros does not use his head for anything. 2-1 at half-time was a fair reflection of the game up to that point. Patrice Mongelard and Steve Blanchard were replaced in the Senior Vets defence by Phil Anthony and Mark Friend for the second period.
The second half was packed with incident. There were four goals in the last fifteen minutes. First though we drew level with Kypros Michael exhibiting once again the knack to be in the right place at the right time. A goalbound effort had hit the Vets’ post and the attempted clearance by Gary Rosslee was blasted against one of his own defenders with the ball falling kindly for Kypros Michael virtually on the goal line. I have seen him miss from there but not today. We enjoyed a period of ascendancy that did not yield a goal, unfortunately. We thought we had a good shout for a penalty when Danny Mullins was hauled down in the box in a crowd scene. Despite Danny’s shorts being around his ankles referee Paul Parsons played on.
On the hour Chisa Mkala was back on for Simon Thomas. Simon’s bench warming had barely begun before he was summoned to replace a lame Kypros Michael whose hamstring trouble had flared up again. What flared up also was a bit of "handbags" involving Jason Miller and Peter Harvey. It was all a bit unseemly in front of a crowd including children. Jason Miller took ten minutes out to regain some maturity having been ushered off the pitch by Simon Thomas playing a muscular role.
The young Vets pressed harder but we held our own despite Matt Angelo’s best efforts to throw the game away. In the space of two minutes he managed to let the ball through his legs, before recovering the ball just in time. He then kicked fresh air as he came out to clear the ball leaving Matt Ellis with an empty goal two yards out. Inexplicably Matt lifted the ball over the bar.
With such good fortune we thought, with a quarter of an hour left, that a draw seemed the most likely result. That was before Sinisa Gracanin’s attempt at cushioning a header back to Matt Angelo did not quite come off and Alan Fines snapped up the opportunity to find the top corner from close range. Alan was to extend his team’s lead five minutes later with a powerful finish again from close range. With five minutes left there was time for Chisa Mkala to produce one of his bustling runs behind the Vets defence and a vintage smart finish to narrow the deficit to one goal. All of Chisa’s good work was undone a couple of minutes later when referee Paul Parsons adjudged that Chisa had bundled an attacker to the ground as he leapt prodigiously to produce a clearing header in our six-yard box. Barry Grainger converted the spot kick and that was it. Not quite, there was time for Jay Hardy to hit the post before the final whistle.
Our long season can be summarised numerically thus: P36, W22, D6, L8 GF 142, GA 73.
Awards for the season will be revealed at our club presentation Evening on 8 June. Today, however, we bestowed the Dot Cotton Award. It is always an awkward moment in the changing room when management ask for a volunteer for the kit. ‘My washing machine is broken’ ‘I am not playing next week’ ‘I have a very busy week ahead’ ‘I’ll take it next week’ ‘My name is Des Lindsay’ – are just some of the excuses. This season’s winner is Toby Manchip, with only 3 games played and with a kit wash to game ratio of 33.33. Others with impressive figures were Phil Anthony – five kit washes over 24 games, Patrice Mongelard - five kit washes over 32 games (Mrs M will be wanting a word), and sore loser Mick O’Flynn – four kit washes over twelve games (“but I attended many more games”). Obviously, it will not do for the management to award themselves prizes, no dodgy practices at our club – we are not Manchester City, allegedly.
On this special occasion we decided to have food delivered from our sponsor Village Cuisine – the best curry house in Farnborough Village. Onion bhajis, mixed samosas, salads, vegetable curry, naan bread, chicken biryani to feed twenty-five duly arrived. We could not finish the food, despite the immense presence of Buffetsaurus Rex, Nick Waller.
Man of the Match – Michael Hills, forgiven for a three-minute tantrum that left us with ten men at a crucial juncture. I hope nobody behaves like that on our forthcoming tour in Rotterdam. Dutch leave like this will not do.
Man of the match: Michael Hills